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Press releases are a great way to get your business exposed to a large number of potential customers. A press release is written in the format of a NEWS ARTICLE and submitted to editors -- who (hopefully) either print them or follow up with you for a story.
STARTING WITH THE BASICS
You'll find that a successful press release, just like any good news article, answers some basic QUESTIONS for the reader.
Choose your words carefully to convey your ideas clearly to the reader. You may want to say several different things about your company -- but your headline must be BRIEF and to the point. You should be able to summarize what the news in your press release is about in ten words or less. The words you choose for your headline must also be exciting and DYNAMIC. No one is going to take the time to read your press release if the headline is boring or trite. Don't be afraid to make a bold claim your headline. Just be sure -- very sure -- you back this up with proven FACTS in your article.
This is where, in no more than two sentences, you SUMMARIZE your information. Your goal is to offer a bite-sized version of your entire article -- to answer the "who, what, when, where, why, and how" questions as briefly as possible. Save the statistics, testimonials, and details for later. Analyze this part of your press release carefully. To be successful, the article must be able to grab the reader’s ATTENTION in the first paragraph. If they read nothing further than your opening, they should still have all the information they need to take action on your press release.
This is where you get to elaborate on your opening. Add descriptions of the BENEFITS your product or service provides, FACTS and figures supporting your claims, and quotes and testimonials from experts or satisfied customers. Be sure all of your quotes begin and end with quotation marks and give credit and CREDENTIALS to the persons you quote. For instance, instead of ending a quote with, "says Barbara Smith," end it with "says Barbara Smith, six figure online entrepreneur and highly praised lecturer on small business on the World Wide Web.” Isn't the second way much more powerful and convincing (provided of course, it's true)? That's giving credit and credentials.
CALL TO ACTION
A press release does you no good if it doesn’t encourage the reader to contact you or act on your behalf. Use a sentence to summarize your article, then tell your readers how they may get more INFORMATION. Use action producing words like “get” and “now” (“Get” more information “now” by phoning [your name] at [your phone number]). Don't feel like you have to go for the jugular, though. You probably aren’t going to land a three-page spread in a national magazine based solely on your press release. Your goal is to encourage a second CONTACT with your reader -- you can wait for the follow up call or meeting to make your final sale.
ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS OF YOURSELF
A few final words are important now. Let me combine them with an exercise to help you remember the five "w's" and one "h" of successful news writing. Make sure you thoroughly consider these questions as you plan and write your release:
GET THEIR ATTENTION
Remember, your submission is going to be submerged in a sea of press releases that your intended publisher will have to review. Always think about how you will make yours STAND out. If you would like more information on this topic, check out Dr. Randall Hansen's Guide to Writing Successful Press Releases at www.stetson.edu/~rhansen/prguide.html. You will also find directories of places to submit your press release near the end of the same web page. Good luck!
Brian Moore publishes 'BizOps Secrets', a complete ezine resource for online success. Subscribe at . Visit his website at www.allprobizops.com.
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